The Moon Rock Men (or simply Moon Rocks) are one of the major races inhabiting the Moon. The Moon Rock Men are led by their ruler King Joe Granite and they were once the sworn enemies of their fellow moonfolk, the Moon Goons.
Creation and development in Thimble Theatre
The Moon Rock Men were created by Bud Sagendorf in 1949 for the 5th of issue of the Popeye/Thimble Theatre comic book, in the story "Moon Goon!". Since their debut, they would make infrequent appearances during the comic's run until its end in 1984.
They were originally depicted as an alien race of diminutive human-like beings who ride around in highly advanced vehicles designed to look like moon rocks with eyeholes, which serve as protective outer shells and also allow them to freely bounce around, change weight or fly through space. However, later comic appearances depict them as being completely made out of rock, with real eyes and mouths.
At some point in the past, the Moon Goons started using the Moon Rocks as building materials and cementing them together, much to their anger. Being sick of being used as building materials, King Joe Granite declared war on the Moon Goons and the two races became enemies from then on.
On one seemingly ordinary day, a pair of scientists sought to make their dream of sending a man to the Moon a reality, and so they chose Popeye, knowing full well of his formidable strength, as well as the fact that he was the only person willing to "sail" their rocket-powered spaceship. Popeye was then unknowingly joined by Wimpy on his voyage into space and the two eventually landed on the Moon, being the first men in space during their time, however, their ship ran out of fuel and power, making the duo of scientists back on Earth assume that they had failed. Eventually, Popeye and Wimpy came across a field of moon rocks which turned out to be the mysterious Moon Goons in disguise. At first, Popeye was perplexed as to how Goons had found their way to the Moon, but, luckily for him, Moon Goons spoke the same language as Earth Goons, which Wimpy could fully translate.
After their introductions, they discovered that the leader of the Moon Goons was none other than the grandfather of their friend Alice the Goon. It was then that the Moon Goon leader revealed his race's conflict with the native Moon Rock Men, so Popeye and Wimpy agreed to help the fearful Moon Goons, with Popeye confronting the Moon Rock leader, King Joe Granite. An epic battle ensued, causing damage to their surroundings, but in the end Popeye proved far too strong for the mighty king, who then capitulated to Popeye and gave him the title of King of the Moon Rocks. With his new title and position, Popeye brought about peace and understanding between the Moon Goons and the Moon Rocks, much to their joy. Soon, Popeye grew tired of being king, wanting only to return to Earth once more. The Moon Rock Men then offered Popeye and Wimpy two of their interstellar moon rock vehicles to take them back home, and as thanks Popeye returned the title of king to Joe Granite. With both races now at peace, the Moon prospered in happiness as Popeye and Wimpy returned home.